Bareerah رضي الله عنها
The story of a slave, who’s story and life is filled with lessons. A woman mentioned in all 6 authentic
books of Ahadith. An indication to us that in the field of Islamic knowledge, honor comes to those who
strive no matter their social standing or position.
Bareerah (ra) was a slave to an affluent family in Madinah. At that time slave owners used to practice
wala. This is when the estate of a freed slave is given to her previous owners. Bareerah (RA) was offered
freedom on these terms, as well as the payment of 9 awqiya of gold.
Being a poor slave, she was unable to afford the payment for freedom and approached Ummul
mu'mineen Ayesha (RA). Ayesha (RA) agreed to pay for her freedom but requested that the owners
forego the condition of Wala. They refused to do so. Ayesha (RA) thereupon informed the Messenger of
Allah (SAW) about what was transpiring. He (SAW) then addressed the Sahaba from the pulpit,
reprimanding them for adding their own compulsions onto people.
Bareerah (RA) was then freed but she chose to remain in the household of Ayesha (RA) and Nabi (SAW)
thereby observing, learning and partaking in the daily activities of this Mubarak household.
At the time of her freedom Bareerah had been married to another slave named Mughith (RA). Since this
marriage took place during her enslavement, she was given the choice of separation from Mughith once
she was freed. Bareerah (RA) chose to separate from him.
Mughith used to then follow her with tears streaming down his cheeks, begging her to take him back.
Once Nabi (SAW) asked her, does she not want to go back to Mughith (RA). She enquired if this was a
command or suggestion. Nabi (SAW) said that it was a suggestion, and Bareerah chose to stay apart
from Mughith (RA).
From this one incident so many lessons are learnt. We learn of the fact that Nabi (Saw) offered her a
choice of separation, even though she had a child with Mughith (RA). He (SAW) did not force her to stay
with him. And we learn of the obedience of Bareerah (RA), that if it was the command of Nabi (SAW) she
would have obeyed even though she disliked it.
Once the Messenger of Allah returned home to find that food had been cooked but the meat was
removed from his portion. On inquiry it was mentioned that meat was given to Bareerah(RA) as charity
and since charity wasn’t permissible for the household of Nabi (SAW) it was removed. He (SAW) then
said that although it was charity for her, it was a gift for the rest of the family.
This indicates that even though charity can be given to one individual, they can then gift it to others.
Bareerah (RA) continued her life in the servitude of Ayesha (RA) and at the time of the incident of Ifk
Nabi (SAW) enquired from her regarding Ayesha (RA). Being a modest yet extremely intelligent woman,
not wanting to vocalize her opinion on the innocence of Ayesha (RA) directly, she says “ By Allah I do not
know anything but good regarding Ayesha (RA). The only thing is when she makes dough, she goes to
sleep and then the goats eat it”. In this manner she indirectly says that if Ayesha (RA) can’t look after
dough, where will she be able to look after a big secret like an affair. It was after this that Nabi (SAW)
addressed the Sahaba (RA) about spreading the rumors and hurting his family.
The lessons learnt from the life of Bareerah (RA) are an important sign to us, teaching us that our social
status, wealth, race , marital status or gender are all unimportant if we have the fear of Allah, obedience
to his Messenger and desire for knowledge in our heart.